I looked at our recent record-breaking snow day from two views. The first featured the pristine forest our house overlooks — well, pristine if you focused on the unpolluted whiteness now covering the ugly winter-naked trees.
Pristine because the wind-blown garbage that always landed exclusively in our yard had been rendered invisible by the snow.
Pristine because the trail behind the house was yet unmolested by snowmobilers.
It was all so awe-inspiring, I wrote an ode to its beauty. Ahem:
Oh untainted forest
With trees so tall
Your winter beauty
And makes me mindful of
What we got
When we paid top dollar
For this lot.
But then I had to stop gawking at the snow and drive in it. Thus the second view.
This view came courtesy of an unplowed main artery. As I inched along at 20 miles per hour, sometimes less, I found this whole scene had a game-show quality to it. It was called: “Try to guess where the lanes are!” No one could, but I fared far worse than the rest.
Failing to see the snow-covered raised median strip in front of the mall, I turned left, onto it. And there I sat, in my Ford Contour the color of a matador’s cape, the car straddling the strip on high. Other drivers eager to get to the mall mouthed what looked like expletives at me, or did worse. Some, like bulls drawn to red, seemed to take direct aim at my car. As I waited for the tow truck, I composed another ode, those cursing me might write:
Oh husband of woman
On the median strip
Your dear wife’s head
Needs a microchip
So it can keep her
From being diverted
Please see that this chip
Is quickly inserted.
I didn’t say I was a good at ode writing, but I had some time on my hands and it could prove no worse than my driving.
The tow-truck operator at last arrived and assured me I was lucky as he towed my car into the mall’s parking lot. “You could have driven into the retention pond,” he said.
Yes, it’s my good fortune only to have driven onto a median strip and possibly wrecked the undercarriage of my car.
After my mall visit, which I’d deemed necessary because I hadn’t been there in a day and a half, I still had to drive home. The snow had stopped, but the road maintained its ice-rinkish quality. My hands were so glued to the steering wheel and my eyes to the tracks of the car in front of me I forgot to breathe. When the car I followed abruptly skidded sideways, I huffed out a sound. It wasn’t breathing. It was more like “Oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die.”
I didn’t die. I made it home where, after my husband pried my hands off the steering wheel, I sat next to the window overlooking the forest. Even though I was tired and uninspired, I wrote a short ode:
Oh lovely spring
With Midwest rains
That gives me such
Until the robin’s
First sweet peep,
I’m going to stay in bed,